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Brian Laundrie search: Police, medical examiner investigating at Myakkahatchee Park

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UPDATE, 3:30 p.m.: The FBI's Tampa  office will be making a statement to the media concerning today’s developments in the search for Brian Laundrie, according to a statement just released. The press conference is set for 4:30 p.m. at the entrance to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park Entrance, 6968 Reisterstown Road, North Port.

UPDATE, 3 p.m.: Law enforcement continues to step up its presence at the entrance of North Port's Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.

A large, black refrigerated van pulled in to the park entrance, which also serves as an entry point to the J. Mabry Carlton Reserve. Brian Laundrie's parents reported him missing Sept. 17, saying he was headed to that area to hike on Sept. 13.

Black and gray SUVs had been in and out earlier, including Lee County sheriff's mobile command center. Those typically arrive a storm scenes, hostage standoffs or serious crime scenarios.

Law enforcement set up a white tent in the woods. Another blue tent is set up at about 2:35 p.m. not far from the first tent. Evidence technicians are putting up crime scene tape by the blue tent to create a perimeter.

UPDATE, 2:30, p.m.: The FBI confirmed that some items that could belong to Brian Laundrie have been found in the J. Mabry Carlton Jr. Reserve today. The official release from the FBI office in Denver: 

"Items of interest were located at the Carlton Reserve this morning in connection with the search for Brian Laundrie. An #FBI Evidence Response team is processing the scene. The reserve is closed to the public and no further details are available at this time."

@FBIDenver

UPDATE, 1:50 p.m.: The Pasco County Sheriff's Office sent it human detection K-9 and two deputy spotters to North Port on Wednesday.

"This is the third time North Port Police Department asked for our assistance in the past month," said Amanda Hunter, sheriff's office spokesperson. "We were out there two weeks ago, too."

Law enforcement presence at the Myakkahatchee Park continues to escalate with at least 10 SUVs and Lee County Sheriff's Office's mobile command center entering the part this afternoon.

NORTH PORT — A day after the city reopened the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park to the public, police have returned to the remote area, acting on information that Brian Laundrie's parents found items that belong to him.

The Sarasota County Medical Examiner's Office reported it has sent an investigation crew to the park, which is off Reisterstown Road in North Port Estates.

Steve Bertolino, attorney for the Laundrie family, said Brian's parents had been in the park Wednesday and law enforcement is in the park today investigating. 

"Chris and Roberta Laundrie went to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park this morning to search for Brian," Bertonlino said in a statement that was sent out by Twitter.

"The FBI and NPPD were informed last night of Brian’s parents’ intentions and they met Chris and Roberta there this morning. After a brief search off a trail that Brian frequented some articles belonging to Brian were found. As of now law enforcement is conducting a more thorough investigation of the area."

Law enforcement has been searching for Brian Laundrie since his girlfriend, Gabrielle Petito, 22, was reported missing by her parents on Sept. 11. North Port police tried to contact him that night at the home of his parents on Wabasso Avenue in North Port, but the family told officers to contact Bertolino, whose office is in New York.

Police quickly named Brian Laundrie a person of interest in Petito's disappearance.

The following week, Brian Laundrie's parents reported him missing, saying they hadn't seen him since Sept. 13, and he had been headed to the Myakkahatchee park in North Port, or possibly the adjoining J. Mabry Carlton Jr. Reserve in Sarasota County

Gabby Petito's remains were found in a Wyoming national forest on Sept. 19. A coroner there said she was strangled to death and her body was left outdoors for three or four weeks. 

Petito and Laundry had been together in a cross-country van trip through the summer, but Petito's parents lost track of her and reported her missing

Laundrie returned from the trip on Sept. 1, driving Petito’s Ford van.

Brian Laundrie is also the subject of an FBI wanted poster, charged with bank fraud, according to FBI Denver authorities. A grand jury indicted Laundrie for “use of unauthorized access devices” after she died, according to FBI statements.

The warrant is “related to Mr. Laundrie’s activities following the death of Gabrielle Petito,” the FBI stated.

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie were involved in an incident Aug. 12 near Arches National Park.

Body camera footage from Moab City Police, and the subsequent release of the 911 call, suggest different situations were considered.

A 911 caller said Laundrie had been slapping Petito. A Moab City Police officer pulled over the couple just outside Arches National Park and said on the video he had seen her slapping him. dled.

As authorities continued their nationwide search for Brian Laundrie, more details emerged about his activities before or around the time of her death.

The Laundrie family confirmed that Laundrie flew out of Salt Lake City to Tampa on Aug. 17, five days after he and Petito encountered police in Moab, Utah, on their van journey out west.

Laundrie then spent six days in Florida, and returned to Utah to join Petito, his attorney said.

“Brian flew home to Tampa from SLC (Salt Lake City Airport) on 08/17 and returned to SLC on 08/23 to rejoin Gabby,” Steve Bertolino said in a statement. “To my knowledge, Brian and Gabby paid for the flights as they were sharing expenses. Brian flew home to obtain some items and empty and close the storage unit to save money as they contemplated extending the road trip.”

Petito spoke to her mother on Aug. 24, a day after Laundrie’s attorney says he went back to Utah. The following day, Gabby Petito was “last known to be in Grand Teton, Wyoming” and “heading to Yellowstone National Park,” according to a GoFundMe page set up to raise money to help search for her.

Laundrie’s parents then reported the 23-year-old missing on Sept. 17, saying they hadn’t seen him since Sept. 14. The FBI and law enforcement agencies around the country have sought him ever since. They later amended that time frame through their attorney, saying he actually left Sept. 13.

They said he drove a Ford Mustang out to Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park to go for a hike. Authorities towed that car away Sept. 20 and returned it Sept. 23.

Wabasso Avenue neighbors, Charlene and William Guthrie, told Fox News they saw Laundrie and his parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, leave for a short trip on Sept. 11 — the day Petito’s family reported her missing.

It is unknown if he returned with them.

The Laundries have not spoken to the media.

Brian Laundrie is 23 years old and known for hiking. He is described standing about 5-foot 8-inches tall and weighing 160 pounds. He has short brown hair, trimmed facial hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a hiking bag which had a waist strap, the news release said.

Anyone with information on Brian Laundrie should contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL FBI or tips.fbi.gov.

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